Monday, August 24, 2009

Back to School

No, this isn't about the kids.

You may recall that Long Suffering Spouse teaches Spanish at the parish grammar school, the same school that all of our kids attended... some of them entirely during the last century.

We were coming from church yesterday, going to our car, which just happened to be parked behind the adjacent school.

A junior high girl was riding her bike across the parking lot when she spotted Long Suffering Spouse. The girl froze. Her face told me what she was thinking: Of all the horrifying sights that one might see, spotting an actual teacher on the last day of freedom has to be the worst!

(Thirteen year old girls think in italics a lot.)

My wife didn't break stride. She greeted the girl by name and added, "See you tomorrow."

She didn't laugh until we were safely in the car. "If only she knew," said Long Suffering Spouse.

"That you don't want to go back either?" I ventured.


Long Suffering Spouse has been increasingly distressed as the first day of school crept ever closer on the calendar. This year, it was Older Daughter's wedding that deprived her of a summer, she's said many times. By the time we'd finished with the wedding and our Chicago party for the newlyweds it was already August. Last year, it was Long Suffering Spouse's own recovery from surgery.

But it has finally dawned on me that Long Suffering Spouse has never really been eager to head back. It's just that, in the past, we've both been so busy getting everyone else ready to go back to school that I hadn't really noticed.

It's not that Long Suffering Spouse isn't dedicated. On the contrary, she puts so much of herself into the job that she's a zombie by the end of every week. At all waking moments, even on the weekends, her constant companion is a little red bag. That's where she keeps the papers she's grading. Whenever there's a moment -- while waiting to pick someone up in the van -- sitting at a football game (when one of our own isn't on the field) -- while the evening news is on, Long Suffering Spouse will be shuffling papers in and out of that little red bag. She grades everything. She puts it in her paper gradebook, then transfers it online, so the parents can keep track of their little darlings' progress... or lack thereof. She works constantly when school starts... and, not surprisingly, for that reason, she wasn't looking forward to jumping back into the routine.

"It never occurred to me that teachers might not be happy to start school again," I told her.

"When I was a kid? No, I would never have thought so either," she said.

"I thought they lived for the moment when they could torture us again," I said.

But perhaps not.

1 comment:

Jean-Luc Picard said...

I can well imagine that teachers have a tough time going back as well.